Though I woke 15 mins late than schedule, it was still dark at 5:00 AM. I squinted, trying to find my way to the kitchen, but having known the way by heart, I realize I can do this even with eyes closed.
I switched on the light, and, immediately the darkness retreated to the far corners. I plugged on the aging electric kettle and got myself a sachet of black coffee to evaporate the residue of sleep that still cling on me.
While waiting for the machine to ovulate to a full simmer, I gawked at my mountain bike and savored with anticipation the thrill of the ride that is about to unfold.
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Bike Frame Technology
My rig is a hardtail Mosso 680 XC cross country. It’s a bike with a beefy frame on beefier tires. Big tires allow for better traction on loose soil. The relatively fat bike frames are actually built from thin tubings.
You see, bike frame manufacturers are rated on two important criteria: rigidity and lightness. They must strike a perfect balance that is both strong and light bike frames. That’s a tall order. So they went deep into their fancy labs and came up with fat looking frames welded together on thin tubings.
Hardtails vs Fulsus Bikes
Bikes with front suspension only are called “hardtails”. They do not suck up much of the bumps than bike with front and rear suspensions. These full suspension or fulsus bikes are comfier and are best suited for trails and technical terrain. They grip and hug the soil better than hardtails.
Hardtails are faster and better on climbs. They accelerate faster. This is because they fully transfer all the power of each pedal stroke into the drivetrain. The result is a livelier, quicker and agile bike.
Needless to say, mountain biking is totally different from road biking. Mountain terrains are unpredictable; roads are not. The routes we ply do not have street signs. They do not warn us of drops or switchback or rocky terrains ahead. We are left to fend against all these and pick up the pieces where we fall. Each of these comes with specific skillset to ride through it.
Some obstacles are masked in overgrown grass, further challenging your biking skill. You’ll eventually crash and crash hard. And I’ll make no bones about the outcome. You’ll have bruises and nasty cuts sooner than later.
Savoring the wafting keenness of coffee, I took a few sips. But before I could even feel the kick of the caffeine fix, I noticed the incessant marbling of my cellphone. Three text messages came, one after the other – all with the same message, “ASA NAKA?” in big bold screaming fonts. If texts can say I would hear the edge in the voice.
I hurriedly put on my gear and struggled to kiss the foreheads of all family members, including BIBA, my naughty shitsu puppy – all of whom are still in dreamland. I hit the road exactly 5:30 AM.
MBEAB (Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base) Trails
Our bike trail is 3.5 kms away on a former US airbase that is now Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base. It is the best one can have in a mountain less Opon. The well-developed trail starts from the easiest to the gnarliest pro mountain bike trail.
As the morning sun drives out the remaining shadows from under the trees, I cannot help but compare how the place looks in light of a setting sun. Two shades of light giving two tones of color, eliciting distinct impressions.
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Not related to mountain biking anymore, but, all of us in this extreme sport may have one way or another, marvel at the owe-inspiring nature and its peculiarities.